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Paul Montanez v. F. Gonzalez

August 15, 2011

PAUL MONTANEZ,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
F. GONZALEZ, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sandra M. Snyder United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT, WITH LEAVE TO AMEND (ECF No. 1)

ORDER STRIKING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR A MEMORANDUM OF LAW IN SUPPORT OF HIS COMPLAINT (ECF No. 12)

ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR RETURN OF ORIGINAL EXHIBITS (ECF No. 11)

I. Screening Requirement

Plaintiff Paul Montanez ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed a complaint and motion for a preliminary injunction on October 15, 2010. (ECF Nos. 1, 4.) On November 8, 2010, Plaintiff filed a motion for a injunctive relief ordering the prison library to duplicate all legal documents.*fn1 (ECF No. 9.) On November 8, 2011, Plaintiff filed a motion for the Court to return his original exhibits. (ECF No. 11.) Plaintiff filed a motion for a memorandum of law in support of his complaint on November 22, 2011. (ECF No. 12.)

The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that are legally "frivolous or malicious," that "fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted," or that "seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

Plaintiff's complaint shall be dismissed for violating Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 and 18. Plaintiff shall be given the opportunity to file an amended complaint curing the deficiencies described by the Court in this order. In the paragraphs that follow, the Court will provide Plaintiff with the legal standards that appear to apply to his claims. Plaintiff should carefully review the standards and amend only those claims that he believes, in good faith, are cognizable.

II. Discussion

A. Complaint

1. Rule 8

In determining whether a complaint states a claim, the Court looks to the pleading standard under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a). Under Rule 8(a), a complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). "[T]he pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not require 'detailed factual allegations,' but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 554, 555 (2007)).

Under section 1983, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002). This requires the presentation of factual allegations sufficient to state a plausible claim for relief. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949-50; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). "[A] complaint [that] pleads facts that are 'merely consistent with' a defendant's liability . . . 'stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.'" Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). Further, although a court must accept as true all factual allegations contained in a complaint, a court need not accept a plaintiff's legal conclusions as true. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949. "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

Plaintiff's complaint is neither short nor a plain statement of the claim. Plaintiff has submitted a 65 page complaint alleging unrelated claims against myriad of defendants alleging failure to provide adequate post operative care, failure to transport Plaintiff to physical therapy appointments, retaliation, interference with the grievance process, and supervisory liability. Plaintiff details his grievances of events that occurred from November 13, 2008 until September 9, 2010. Additionally Plaintiff has filed a 70 page memorandum of law in support of his complaint.

The purpose of the complaint is not to set forth every grievance Plaintiff has against the defendants nor to set forth legal argument, but to state a short concise statement of the claim. Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Accordingly, Plaintiff's motion for a memorandum of law in support of his complaint shall be stricken from the record. Given that Plaintiff must comply with Rule 18(a), as discussed below, twenty-five pages is more than sufficient for Plaintiff to identify his claims and set forth specific facts in support of those claims. Accordingly, Plaintiff 's amended complaint may not exceed twenty-five pages in length, and it will be stricken from the record if it violates this page limitation.

2. Rule 18

Plaintiff may not proceed in one action on a myriad of unrelated claims against different staff members. "The controlling principle appears in Fed. R. Civ. P. 18(a): 'A party asserting a claim to relief as an original claim, counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim, may join, either as independent or as alternate claims, as many claims, legal, equitable, or maritime, as the party has against an opposing party.' Thus multiple claims against a single party are fine, but Claim A against Defendant 1 should not be joined with unrelated Claim B against Defendant 2. Unrelated claims against different defendants belong in different suits, not only to prevent the sort of morass [a multiple claim, multiple defendant] suit produce[s], but also to ensure that prisoners pay the required filing fees-for the Prison Litigation Reform Act limits to 3 the number of frivolous suits or appeals that any prisoner may file without prepayment of the required fees. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g)." George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007).

In this instance, Plaintiff 's complaint is a lengthy recitation of encounters with prison officials, all giving rise to claims for relief. The fact that Plaintiff's claims all arise out of his medical condition does not mean that they are related. For example, Plaintiff's claim that an officer refused to transport him to his physical therapy appointment is not related to his claim that his treating physician refused to prescribe pain medication following his surgery. Plaintiff will not be permitted to pursue unrelated claims in this action. In amending, Plaintiff should determine which related claims he wishes to pursue and ...


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